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Memories of Grandpa & Grandma  

Dwyn and Henry Larson
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      When I was going to the U of A in 1959-60, I was living at home and shared a bedroom with Grandma. I always loved having her with us. For her it was probably better than 1955-56 when my four siblings and I (at 14) and Grandma slept in the living room with a chamber pot for anyone who couldn't make it to the outhouse in the middle of a cold winter's night. (Bloomfield NM. She would have been 88.)
      Back to Tucson, dating Henry, coming home late at night, she was in bed and usually awake. She wouldn't say anything; it was a small house and the others would wake up. I knelt by my bed in the dark to say my prayers with her watching. That was okay but one night it occurred to me - I could pray in the living room if I really wanted to be alone. So I did for a few days - until Mom asked me, "Are you saying your prayers?" Well, I didn't want to have Grandma worrying about me so I would say prayers by my bed again.

      In 1970 my folks wanted to go to a piano tuner's convention but Grandma was 98 (still functioning pretty well) and they wanted to see our new baby so we combined the two. They paid our way and I rode the bus with our four kids from Redondo Beach CA to Tucson AZ, then stayed with Grandma a few days.
      She couldn't see or hear very well or fold clothes anymore, to her dismay. And she called me Sharon more than Dwyn but that didn't bother me; it was a compliment. She came into the kitchen one day as I was washing dishes and recited the whole of a poem about a soldier returning home from the war and the joy of his wife when she saw him again.
      She had a well-furnished mind. Which surprised me as I was used to her always being there sort of like soft background music, not the featured speaker.

back: Grandma (91) and David
front: my girls, Lynn and Jan, 1964

      I saw Grandma for the last time a day or two before she died. I had gone from Tucson with my folks to see her in Show Low at Etta Seymore's. She was mostly unconscious but she heard me when I asked if she wanted a sip of water. "Yes, dear, that would be nice." Then she turned in bed and something hurt so she said a swear word. Hey, at age 101, that inner watch dog, the one that monitors our tongue, was very old too, and obviously sleeping.
      For the first time I realized that of course she'd heard plenty of rough frontier language, she just hadn't used it, ever. The worst I'd heard her say over the years was "Pshaw!" when I was 7 and she had dropped the baby's bottle full of milk. And that was the only time.

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